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Risk, Safety, and Choice in Childbirth

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In this column, the author explores current understandings of risk and safety in pregnancy and childbirth. An emphasis on risk management places the provider and hospital in control of women’s decisions related to pregnancy and birth and may make pregnancy and birth less safe for mothers and babies. Accepting that no life is risk free, women can let go of fear and make choices that take into account real, not imagined, or exaggerated risk and, in doing so, increase safety for themselves and their babies. The focus of maternity care becomes enhancing safety through evidence-based practice rather than managing risk.

Keywords: childbirth; choice; pregnancy; risk; safety

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2012

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